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How to be an Ally: Blanket Exercise

March 29, 2017 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


The Blanket Exercise is a teaching tool to share the historic and contemporary relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

The KAIROS Blanket Exercise is an interactive learning experience that teaches the Indigenous rights history we’re rarely taught. Developed in response to the 1996 Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples—which recommended education on Canadian-Indigenous history as one of the key steps to reconciliation, the Blanket Exercise covers over 500 years of history in a one and a half hour participatory workshop.

Blanket Exercise participants take on the roles of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Standing on blankets that represent the land, they walk through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. They are directed by facilitators representing a narrator (or narrators) and the European colonizers. Participants are drawn into the experience by reading scrolls and carrying cards which ultimately determine their outcomes. By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates and increases empathy. Ideally, the exercise is followed by a debriefing session in which participants have the opportunity to discuss the experience as a group. This often takes the form of a talking circle.

Watch this video to learn more.

Speaker: Bear Standing Tall

For the past 18 years, Bear Standing Tall has facilitated Indigenous Cultural Sensitivity Training workshops across Canada – at Universities, Colleges, Schools, Health Facilities, Wellness Centres, Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centres, Healing Lodges, Youth Centres, Men’s and Women’s Support Houses and Federal Institutions for Men & Women.

My name is Bear Standing Tall. I am an Indigenous Nehiyaw (Cree) from Onion Lake Cree Nation, Saskatchewan and the founder of Bear Standing Tall and Associates (BSTA).

Our mission is to create a bridge between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous nations. Bear Standing Tall offers Indigenous Cultural Sensitivity Training (ICST) for educators, social workers, public servants, health workers, counsellors, and everyone wanting to expand their knowledge about Indigenous People’s, History, Traditions, Philosophy and basic awareness of Spiritualty.

We are offering you the opportunity to expand your skills and awareness by participating in BSTA’s experiential and wholistic approach to education and training. Through ICST, you gain authentic Indigenous wisdom and knowledge to build new, effective and practical methods of engagement.

Learn more at



What is “How to be an Ally”?

As more and more of us confront the fact that the world is not equitable for all, it is crucial for us to understand what our role is in supporting one another and together, figure out the systems and society that work for everybody.

One step that we’re taking at the Centre for Social Innovation is partnering with incredible equity trainers to draw on their lived experiences and professional practice building bridges between communities to share their thoughts on how someone could be their ally. This is followed by a facilitated Q&A discussion in smaller groups.


About the cost and accessibility

The cost was a hard piece for us because we want this to be accessible to everybody, but we also wanted to honour the time of our facilitators and attach fair value to their work and ours.The cost of tickets is still reflecting a discount from both parties, but we’re comfortable with this if it means more people can attend.

If you find the cost prohibitive, we are offering 5 bursaries for each session on a first come, first serve basis. You do not need to a provide an explanation and we trust that these bursaries will go to people who really require them. For anyone requiring bursary or other accommodation (i.e. tokens, child minding), please email Shilbee ( We’re constantly learning and exploring different ways to live up to our value of creating healthy cultures and we’re always open to feedback!


For more workshops, please check our website here:



March 29, 2017
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm


CSI Regent Park
585 Dundas St East - 3rd Floor
Toronto, ON M5A 2B7 Canada
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